Buchanan Center for the Arts to Name Classroom in Honor of Monmouth Residents Harlow and Lila Blum at Feb. 21 Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony


Two of Monmouth’s distinguished residents will have a classroom named in their honor at the Buchanan Center for the Arts.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 21., at the Buchanan Center for the Arts to celebrate the Blum Studio classroom. The event is free and open to the public, and refreshments will be served.

The classroom is named in honor of Harlow and Lila Blum. The Blums joined the Monmouth community in 1959, and they have since dedicated their professional careers and personal lives to education and the arts.

“We are excited to have a modern classroom for the community to learn, explore, and experience the arts,” said Kristyne Gilbert, Executive Director of the Buchanan Center for the Arts. “The classroom remodel project was an imaginative and lofty dream over the course of the last decade. That dream is a reality with the completion of this project.”

The Blum Studio classroom includes an upgraded kitchen, cabinetry, workspaces for artists and guests, an elevator lift, automated entry, and a kiln.

The project was made possible by gifts and grants from Blick Art Materials, the Blums, Duane Bonifer and Kristyne Gilbert, the City of Monmouth, Midwest Bank, Monmouth Rotary Club, United Way of Greater Warren County, and an anonymous donor. Construction was completed by TL Cook Construction, Advanced Plumbing and Mechanical, Breslin’s Floor Covering, C & D Electric, IHC Heating and Cooling, and Flylow Fabrication.

Lila is a 1961 Monmouth College graduate, where she earned a bachelor of arts degree in English. She received a master of arts in teaching English as a second language from Columbia University in 1982. A lifelong educator and arts advocate, she was an instructor and administrator at Western Illinois University, completing her tenure in 2003 as Director of the International Education & English as a Second Language Institute.

In 1973, Lila co-founded the Art Presenter Program, an arts education program in Warren County public and private schools. She is the 2008 recipient of the Spirit of Grace Patron of the Arts award and the 2000 recipient of the Monmouth Illinois School District Distinguished Service award.

Harlow is a professor of art emeritus at Monmouth, where he was a professor for 40 years before retiring in 1999. He received a bachelor of fine arts degree in painting from University of Illinois, a master of arts in painting from Michigan State, and a master of fine arts in printmaking from Syracuse University. His work has been exhibited throughout the United States, and he is the recipient of multiple honors and awards, including grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and a fellowship to study at Harvard University. Under Harlow’s leadership, the Monmouth College Art Department studio program expanded from painting, drawing, and printmaking to include sculpture and ceramics, and a program of art exhibitions in a campus art gallery open to the public. He also engaged the community by offering adult art classes including a silk screen class attended by Grace Buchanan.

Harlow and Lila have traveled and worked in South Korea, India, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan. They have been active in the Buchanan Center for the Arts since its inception in 1989, and Lila served as a board member and an Art Presenter Program liaison. Harlow is a co-founder of Old Friends Talk Art, a monthly gallery talk that features a variety of art topics. The Blums were instrumental in the early phases and process of the Buchanan Center for the Arts to secure a place in the community for everyone to create, explore, and experience the arts. 

***Courtesy of the Buchanan Center for the Arts***

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